Sunday, February 28, 2010

Update on Finding Beauty

So many of you commented on how children would love the items in my "failure bowl." Well some of them are now on their way to a good home.

The Continuing Education department at St. Francis University, where my husband works, is looking for odds and ends that they can use in their Kids College Art Camp this summer. I raided the bowl and picked out beads, flowers, hearts, and a not-quite-perfect mermaid.

I wouldn't have seen that possibility in them if it weren't for your comments. Now my bowl is almost empty, although I'm sure it will fill up again soon. There is one piece still in the bowl that I am going to try to salvage thanks to Deb's comment, "I take a piece of my, "Didn't turn out right art", and just go for it. I figure I can't hurt it...and I've ended up with some of my favorite pieces this way. The "Kitty With Heart" (The print that you have) is one of those pieces...she looked very different before."

I now see hope for the broken lotus pendant on the top. I may be able to sand it down and set it in a new background to turn it into a pin or something. After all I can't hurt it!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Finding Beauty in My Failures

My Bowl of Failures

Sometimes things don’t turn out the way I picture them.

Once in a while, a project morphs into something better than I could have imagined, but more often than not these things turn into unsalvageable failures. All I can do is absorb the lesson and move on.

What I can’t seem to do is throw my failures away. Weird I know, but I keep tossing them into a small glass bowl. Most days this action fills me with a sense of desperation that I may never get it right. The bowl is like a constant reminder of what I need to fix, what I need to improve.

Yet not today. Today as I prepared to toss another item in, I looked at my bowl of failures. Today the bowl seemed beautiful enough to photograph.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Clay Inclusion Jewelry

I finally finished some jewelry pieces using the clay inclusion technique I wrote about earlier. In the first one I used a base of translucent clay with a hint of black combined with ground pepper. The delicate pink flowers, inspired by Japanese cherry blossom imagery, are also created from translucent clay finished to have a frosted glass appearance.

For the second one I used a combination of cinnamon and nutmeg in the base to simulate stone. The vibrant color in the marigold flower petals comes from a red pepper, paprika blend toned down with some of the cinnamon/nutmeg blend. I added a touch of red clay for the darker petals.

I'm so happy with how they turned out that I decided that these two pendants would be the first pieces of jewelry I offer in my store.

Cherry Blossom Polymer Clay Pendant
Spicy Clay Polymer Clay Pendant

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Clay Inclusion Technique

Cool Technique: Inclusion, the Art of Sprinkling Things into Clay
A couple snow storms and a head cold have me trapped in the house so I am experimenting with clay inclusions. The technique is pretty simple. You add things, like herbs, colored sand, fibers, etc., to translucent polymer clay.

Ground rules:
Really the only rule is that the substance has to be inert (meaning something that won't rot). That makes this a great technique for beginners. For these sample chips, I used Fimo translucent clay. It stays white. Sculpey translucent is darker and would have a different look. The beauty of sample chips is that you can test things quickly to see what you like best before you do something large scale.

Spices aren't just for cooking:
I had a good time adding just about every spice/herb I had in my cupboard. I used ground pepper, nutmeg, cinnamon, mint, red pepper, cumin, and basil. Each gave a different look. Now I'm making my favorites into jewelry. The only problem I had was that my husband was a little disappointed to see cinnamon and nutmeg on the counter and no dessert in sight.

Let me know if you've made anything with clay inclusions. I'm kind of addicted now, and I'd love to see what else I could do with it.

Projects using inclusions:
Clay Inclusions Jewelry
Faux Terracotta

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Business Cards: The First Generation

My sister works in a tux shop where she encounters many brides-to-be. Being a supportive baby sis, she asked me if I had any business cards that she could hand out. Well the funny thing is I hadn't printed any cards.

Choosing business cards is a monumental decision. What can you possibly put on that tiny space that sums up everything that you do? I had been procrastinating, but her simple request to help me out gave me a kick in the pants.

So how did I make the monumental decision of what would represent me when I'm not there to represent myself? I didn't. I made the decision to represent what my business is today. I'm a natural planner and a chronic worrier so I found myself getting hung up on all of the "what-ifs."

My biggest "what-if" right now is "What if I branch out beyond wedding cake toppers?". How do you put that on a card? "I sell wedding cake toppers and maybe some other stuff." Finally I realized that my lack of a solid plan is really holding up my forward progress.

After much angst, I decided to be present in this moment, the one where my store only offers wedding cake toppers. Yet to keep myself open for the future, I printed only a small quantity. That way I fill today's need and allow myself room to grow creatively.


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